The eigenvalues of rotating blades usually change with rotation speed according to the Stodola-Southwell criterion. Under certain circumstances, the loci of eigenvalues belonging to two distinct modes of vibration approach each other very closely, and it may appear as if the loci cross each other. However, our study indicates that the observable frequency loci of an undamped rotating blade do not cross, but must either repel each other (leading to “curve veering”), or attract each other (leading to “frequency coalescence”). Our results are reached by using standard arguments from algebraic geometry—the theory of algebraic curves and catastrophe theory. We conclude that it is important to resolve an apparent crossing of eigenvalue loci into either a frequency coalescence or a curve veering, because frequency coalescence is dangerous since it leads to flutter, whereas curve veering does not precipitate flutter and is, therefore, harmless with respect to elastic stability.

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